Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hidden Holiday Treasures


source
                                                                      

While most people are still clamoring to find last minute holiday gifts, I did some of my shopping early in an unexpected place. When my mom sold her house in September, I didn't have to look further than her china cabinet for some hidden treasures.

Buried behind rows of dishes and glasses in her breakfront, were beautiful platters and figurines. Though she took her favorite pieces to her new apartment, she let me choose from the rest of her collection.

I even set aside some manly bar glasses for our boys. As I was rummaging through the wet bar, I was reminded of the holiday parties we had growing up. My mom would wear her long silky tiger print robe, while she served champagne punch in cheetah print glasses to our guests seated on the comfy leopard couch. 

My brother and I would look up at the adults from the rust shag carpeting, before we would race to load up on crabmeat dip, sweet and sour meatballs, and other delicious hors d'oeuvres. My dad was in charge of serving the "real" drinks, when he wasn't carving the turkey or brisket. During the summer, he was known for his expert grilling techniques.

Clean up duty was even fun at family gatherings, because all of the women would work together. My mom and grandma were in charge of putting the leftovers away, while I loaded the dishwasher, and my great aunts would help dry the remaining dishes. I wish that I could remember some of the wonderful conversations that took place back then.

Though my mom had hoped to sell more of her antiques, there were some surprises along the way. As I was packing up her clothes and shoes for charity, I found a beautiful pair of black boots that had never been worn. Enclosed was the receipt dating back to 1997. The next day I tried to return the boots to the department store, and they issued a full cash refund.

Shortly before the closing, I went back to the house for one last look when I found a small white box. It contained a generous gift certificate to a day spa dated from November 1988. I put it in my purse for safe keeping, gathered the rest of the last minute items, and said goodbye to my childhood home.

Recently, I went to the luxurious day spa, and gave the twenty-four-year-old gift certificate to the cashier. I was hoping that it would still have some cash value, and was astounded when she agreed to honor the original amount. I thanked her, and asked her to issue a new gift card, because I didn't want to take any chances.

The other day my mom asked me what I wanted for Hanukkah, and I told her that she already gave me a wonderful present. I reminded her about the gift certificate, and said that we could both share a day of beauty together. Although she liked the idea, she still hasn't forgiven me for replacing her forty-five-year-old shag carpeting. 


*Just a note to let you know that I'll be taking a short family break. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday, and the next time a relative asks you to help them clean out their cupboards, be sure to run right over.

32 comments:

  1. It's hard to say good bye to a place that held so many memories but I am sure you had a wonderful time on your trip down memory lane. Your mom sounds like a character who had fun with life. I hope she still has that wardrobe for her next phase in life.

    How wonderful (and surprising) that the gift certificate was honored. And for a store to take back 15 year old boots, wow, outstanding. The only store that I know would do this is Nordstrom. Maybe that is why they are still in business as they know how to be customer oriented.

    Have a nice break and a wonderful holiday.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow..what a bonanza of items and memories. A Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah to you and yours and all the best in the New Year to come. We'll all be here when you get back to blogging.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's good to have memories, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What wonderful experiences to have with a parent. Have a happy holiday.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy Hanukkah!

    I'm still on my blogging hiatus.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such an image with the long, silky tiger print robe, champagne punch in cheetah print glasses and comfy leopard couch all on a backdrop of rust shag carpet! Enjoy your break, and your spa!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Julie .. what two great finds .. let alone all the other goodies you're using for the grandchildren growing up. I've still got some of my grandmother's things .. mostly cooking bits and bobs ..

    Excellent to get a refund for the boots, and the Spa ... wonderful ... have fun - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  8. No no! Shag carpet had to go.
    Cool you found so many treasures. Really stunned the store took back the shoes!
    Have a great holiday season and thanks again for everything.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have a nice blog break Julie and Happy Hanukkah! Enjoy your holiday..

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't look forward to this day at my mother's. I don't think she's much of a packrat, but I tend to get very sentimental about "stuff," especially if it's something that reminds me of childhood or growing up. I'll want to keep it all.

    Enjoy your time off and have a great holiday!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. There are some wonderful memories in trinkets.
    Enjoy your break.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Moving swiftly on from 'shag' carpet and the innuendo that is rather British :)

    What a treasure of an article and I'm glad I visited to read this one. May you have a peaceful break and the festive seasons find you and your loved ones well.

    In kindness, Gary

    ReplyDelete
  13. Excellent brief and this article helped me alot. Say thank you I looking for your information Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  14. Arleen - Yes, it was Nordstrom's, and they are a great store. I'm impressed that you got it on your first try! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    Thanks Delores, and have a very Merry Christmas!

    Yvonne - Hope you have a Merry Christmas too, and I'll stop by to wish you a Happy New Year!

    Thanks Yvonne, and Happy Holidays to you!

    Shelly - Hope you're plowing ahead on your book. Happy Holidays!

    Donna - I love animal prints too, but I decided not to keep the robe! Thanks Donna, and have a Happy Holiday!

    Hilary - It was such a nice surprise on both counts. Have a Merry Christmas Hilary!

    Thanks JJ and Happy Holidays!

    Alex - That shag carpeting had to be raked regularly to avoid footprints which only added to its appeal!
    Thank YOU for everything Alex, and have a very Merry Christmas!

    Thanks Jen and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    Luanne - My advice is to do it gradually, so it's not so overwhelming. Thanks Luanne and Happy Holidays to you!

    Lynda - There were lots of trinkets to go through! Thanks Lynda and enjoy the holiday season!

    Gary - Oh behave! Is that what Austan Powers says? Thanks Gary, and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  15. That's astonishing, and great customer service, that they honored the gift card.

    Have a wonderful time with your family, Julie.
    B'shalom,
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Robyn! I just got your beautiful book and can't wait to read it! Happy Holidays!

      Julie

      Delete
  16. Wow! Full cash for old shoes and a 20+ year old gift certificate. WOW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really lucked out that both stores were so generous. Happy Holidays Libby!

      Delete
  17. Ah, to discover hidden treasures in the most unlikely places, and when you least expect to... those are some priceless items.
    What better way to enjoy some quality "time-out" with your mom, courtesy of a 24-year old gift certificate? Enjoy the pampering... it sounds blissful!
    Happy Hanukkah, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hidden treasures are the best because they're so unexpected! Happy Hanukkah! Enjoy your break.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great treasures! Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  20. That's an amazing story. And what chutzpah to return a 15 year old pair of boots! Hope you had a great Chanukah.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What an awesome story!

    When we were going through my grandparents house a couple of years ago, we found some treasures we hadn't seen in years. It was such a blessing for our family.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a touching post. I can imagine it must have been hard to take that long last look around your old home.
    I can't believe they honored the gift certificate, that's amazing. I hope you and your family had a very Happy Hannukkah, Julie, and have a wonderful holiday season!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Aww! There are such neat things that you'll find while looking through someone's house. I can't believe they took the boots back and gave you money for them! I hope you had a happy Hanukkah!

    ReplyDelete
  24. That's incredible that they took the gift certificate. What I would love for Christmas is my greatgrandma's recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow! That is amazing that they honored the return and the spa certificate. Best treasure hunt ever. I would LOVE to uncover treasure like that. Enjoy your time off.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Julie, I hope the season's been a wonderful one for you and yours. Thanks so much for all your support, including ordering my book. I'm glad you got it and hope you enjoy it for years to come.

    Happy New Year.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks to everyone for your insightful comments. Wishing you all the best in 2013!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  28. Some great memories. Makes me think of some recent clean-up we did at my mother's house. She wasn't moving, but my sister was moving in with her and we were making some room and just cleaning in general. It's fun going through the old memories, but sometimes somewhat sad as well.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete